Thoughts from last night’s Laker game and whatever else crosses my mind.
• The word on Lamar Odom is that it was nothing serious and he is day-to-day (but aren’t we all). For those that didn’t see, he was kicked in the shin by Jon Brockman in a rebound scrum under the basket. Just a shin bruise (not on the bone), but because it was preseason he sat.
• The Vegas game was clunky like you expect a preseason game to be. That said, the Lakers had a plan for a night — post up. Lots of Bynum on the block early, and if not him Kobe.
• With the ball in the post for essentially clear outs, and without Gasol getting the ball in the high post, the Lakers offense looked a little stagnant early — people clear out for Bynum on the low block so he can work, same for Kobe when he posts. but when Gasol gets the ball in the high post people move and cut because they know he’ll get them the ball.
• That changed when Mbenga came in with the second unit (nobody clears out for him), that unit with Brown and Sasha was cutting and moving. Not coincidentally, that is when the Lakers pulled away. By the way, so far this season Sasha seems back — he needs to start doing that in games that matter for me to give big props, but it’s a good sign.
• You have to love Bynum’s explosiveness and effort. Granted, the Kings don’t really have anyone who can really handle him on the block, but he was aggressive and took advantage of that. As it should be.
• Alex V. was right in the comments — right now, this season of Top Chef feels like preseason basketball. We know who the four finalists should be (my man Kevin, Jen and the two brothers) and it’s just a matter of waiting for the others to fall by the wayside until the real games start.
• Not to go all Joel Meyers, but when you haven’t seen them for a while, you forget what a long team the Lakers are, and how much trouble that causes other team’s shooters. Also, they should be a great rebounding team because of it. (I really should have worked harder to find a way to put the word “upside” in that bullet just to make it the ultimate cliché.)
• Artest seems often like he’s thinking, not just reacting in the offense. That will change. (And the handful of times he was in a position to just react, he made good plays. He is physically so strong down low going for boards.)
• Stephen Jackson got called for two fouls guarding Kobe, and he wasn’t even in the building this time.
• They found the Balloon Boy. Can we stop talking about him now? CNN, I’m looking at you.
• The regular refs need to be back for the regular games. Figure it out. By the way, the amazing Kevin Pelton at Basketball Prospectus breaks down the numbers on the new refs, and it’s a good read.
• Ugh, Dodgers. 3 for 14 with runners in scoring position doesn’t cut it. Need to clean that up today.
• Really wish I could have made Blogs With Balls in Vegas. Stupid “real world” got in the way of the fun.
Craig W. says
Having watched all three Laker preseason games, I think the replacement refs are doing a good job. Yeah, they miss/miss call some, but the regular refs aren’t exactly perfect in this respect.
I like the idea that stars don’t get special calls – just makes the game more level and more interesting.
Couldn’t agree with you more about the refs. I now long for the days of Bennett Salvatore! I don’t know what the answer is though. I certainly wasn’t thrilled at the refs the past few seasons.
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j.d. Hastings says
I’d be happier about Sasha and Farmar’s showing this preseason if they both weren’t candidates for the preseason hall of fame, but Adam Morrison is making me think that at least they aren’t just preseason PRACTICE all stars.
Encouraging signs from Bynum. In the second half I felt like he went into “Don’t get injured” mode, and I was fine with that. I also appreciated his post game interview where he cited the desire to be the first to the basket on every possession and to rebound better. The proof is in the pudding, as PJ says, but just recognizing the proper goals shows a huge amount of maturity.
Warren Wee Lim says
Sasha, my man, its working… you will be my mission this season. IF you examine our depth chart, Sasha holds the most important position of them all.
C: Bynum (34) Gasol (14)
PF: Gasol (20) Odom (24) Walton (4)
SF: Artest (30) Walton (12) Kobe (6)
SG: Kobe (30) Sasha (12) Artest (6)
PG: Fish (22) Farmar (13) Brown (13)
The point being, that we have no SG outside Sasha when Kobe rests… its the team’s #1 lack of depth (if any) coz if and when Sasha disappears, we don’t get to play fast basketball, we get stuck between Luke Walton’s post-up-on-fastbreaks or Ron Artest’s look-I-can-shoot-from-halfcourt attitude.
j.d. Hastings says
Here’s a thought- The Cavs are lucky to get the swine flu. If one player has it, they all get it league wide eventually, and if your team can face it in preseason, youre better off.
Sean P. says
I wouldn’t call the Cavs lucky, when there is vaccine slated for release in a couple of weeks.
It could have gone like this…
” Not to go all Joel Meyers, but when you haven’t seen them for a while, you forget what a long team the Lakers are, and how much trouble that causes other team’s shooters. Also, they should be a great rebounding team because of it. Because of that length, the Lakers have great upside as close out defenders and rebounders when the other team is playing their perimeter game.”
Only saw the last part of the game, but Bynum looked winded. He would get the ball in the mid post and not even really look to score, stay out on the perimeter and take jump shots. I’m not too concerned but it’s rare that it’s that obvious (to me, anyway) that a player is tired.
I’m more of the opinion (like JD #3) that Bynum was in “don’t get injured” mode. No sense in going all out to preserve a meaningless pre-season victory.
Phil inserted him back in the game to bring a little order. Bynum was planning on sitting out the rest of the game. He was doing just enough but I don’t think he was tired.
Gabriel R. says
I don’t know if I am the only one feeling this way, but so far the post-game show on the radio hasn’t been up to par.
I distinctly remember hearing post-game show morph into Dodgers post-game.
I like the Dodgers, but if I want to hear that, I’d turn the dial.
Hopefully this is just an overreaction/one-time thing because these are meaningless pre-season games, but could you imagine a playoff or finals game post-game session being interrupted by baseball?
I’d go nuts for sure at that point.
Yea it’s possible he just didn’t care at that point, but I would just see him with his hands on his knees and the shots he did take were short and even in don’t get injured mode it was just odd to see him not aggressive with his shot at all since he usually has that kind of tunnel vision.
dan reines says
Kurt, don’t be so hard on yourself, you just have to take it one bullet at a time, stay focused. Let the Fast Break Thoughts come to you.
Dunk Specialist says
#4 I actually think Brown will get a bunch of minutes at the two. Though Sasha has looked good and maybe we can get more rest for our old guys. Though too much rest is actually ruins a players conditioning (that’s why player returning from injury no matter how much the run are out of shape). But if Kobe plays 30 and Fish is around 20 to 28 minutes then I think they will both be fresh and still well conditioned for the playoffs.
Craig W. says
Bynum in the 4th qtr was playing with the scrubs — there was no flow and they sure weren’t running the triangle. He is young enough that he is influenced by those around him. When they are playing correctly he is much more involved and active. When it is garbage time he plays, but his efficiency really suffers.
This is an age and experience thing and I really don’t worry much about it impacting the season.
The STD says
Since Phil seems to like the Farmar/WOW combo, hopefully we will see more WOW.
Really, more WOW in any capacity is a good thing. Towards the end of last season I felt he outplayed every back court player not named Kobe despite just getting thrown into the triangle.
I thought I remember last year everyone talking about how in a lot of games the Lakers actually started to go away from the triangle a little, and that they ran tons of PnR. Maybe this helped Brown out a lot late last year? No clue though, just randomly throwing out thoughts since I honestly don’t remember a whole lot.
Craig W. says
We run a lot less triangle when the 2nd unit is on the floor — last year and so far this year. This is why it was so important to keep either Kobe or Gasol in the game, because they facilitated more use of the triangle. Lamar too, except he is not as assertive as a leader. It is why I want to see more Luke on the floor with the 2nd unit, even if it means we slow down a bit.
We all often get so caught up in athleticism that we forget the system we are running.
chris h says
anybody else notice how well Fish dropped back and collapsed on D when someone cut through/across the land, and stripped the ball? then he smartly started the break with kobe on the wing. he did that several times, and executed it very well.
just goes to show you that when an old vet like Fish, knows he’s lost a step in one place, picks up a nice off season trick to add to the arsenal, use the brain when the legs are 1 year older.
anyway, I enjoyed his game against the queens.
yeah, and ‘Drew had a great first half, loved the alley oops and the way he’s hanging out under the basket.
Didn’t see the game, but this post makes me wonder if Pau is going to get enough touches in the offense with Bynum and Kobe getting so much time in the post. Pau’s one of the most efficient offensive players in the league, and often times last year they seemed to forget about him. Seems like he should be the first option down low.
Chris J says
– 19 It’s impossible to use the Kings came as a means of measuring how Pau will be worked into the scheme since Pau didn’t play; of course more post plays will go through Kobe or Andrew when Pau’s absent.
I think this was a bigger concern a year ago than now. We’ve seen that the Lakers can work through both post players; it’ll depend upon who’s hot, who’s got a better match-up, and so on.
This shouldn’t be an issue unless Andrew gets pouty on the nights when Pau’s the focal point. Hopefully he’s matured enough not to make that mistake.
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